The Temple of Kwan Tai, Mendocino

3.8
#7 of 7 in Historic Sites in Mendocino County
The Temple of Kwan Tai is a Chinese Taoist temple in Mendocino, California, dedicated to Kwan Tai. It is California Historical Landmark #927.The temple was constructed from local redwood in the mid-19th century and served what was once a large population of Chinese immigrants who worked in or supported the lumber industry in Mendocino, including survivors from a fleet of Chinese junks that sailed to California for the gold rush and landed instead on the Mendocino coast. The temple's ownership was passed down through Chinese families until, in 1995, a nonprofit organization was formed to restore and maintain the temple.It continues to be used both as a house of worship and to educate visitors about the history of Chinese Americans. It is one of the oldest continuously used Chinese temples in California, the only remaining joss house on the northern California coast, and the only remaining building from the Chinese community in Mendocino.DescriptionThe Temple of Kwan Tai is a small brightly painted red and green redwood building with two doors, three windows, and a gable roof, located at 45160 Albion St in Mendocino, facing south toward the Pacific Ocean. Nine steps lead from the street level to the front door, a number that "is said to fend off evil spirits". The name of the temple is written over the door, in Chinese characters pronounced in Cantonese as "Mo Dai Miu" or "Military God-king Temple". The main room of the temple is approximately 264ft2 in area; a small room at the rear of the building, originally the temple keeper's quarters, is now used as an office.
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  • Well worth a visit. Lucky to have great grand daughter of initial Chinese residents telling the family story. We went as part of the Mendocino walking tour.  more »
  • We walked into the temple and the granddaughter of the founder was there to speak to us. WOW. This is a humble place, but her discussions of growing up in Mendocino and the history of the Chinese in t...  more »
  • Walking by the temple and was attracted by an individual sitting by the front door, so we climbed the 9 steps to the temple door and was filled with the history of this 100+ year old sanctuary.  more »

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